The Enemy Beneath
Rich Karlgaard, Forbes Magazine, 10.15.01, 12:00 AM ET

In the days following the terrorist attacks, the U.S. fractional jet business found itself swamped with inquiries-10,000 is one aviation expert's guess. Meanwhile, all major commercial carriers in the U.S. are tottering on the edge of insolvency. For years, maybe permanently, this awful blow to America is sure to effect strange and sudden turns like this. Actually, the turns only seem strange. What the terrorist attacks may have done is to quicken a trend already in play for the last 44 years. The trend is decentralization.

Giant Killer

In 1957 the civilized world was at its apogee of centralized management. The twin efforts to conquer the Great Depression and to win World War II were huge top-down affairs that had lasting consequences for management and organization. By the 1950s command and control had, as a way of getting almost any task done, even in civilian life, virtually no rival. In fact, America's biggest worry at the time was the Soviet Union, which practiced command and control even more than we did-and at the point of a gun. And it seemed to work, too. In October 1957 the Soviets managed to hoist a 184-pound hunk of metal with a radio transmitter into orbit around the Earth. The success of Sputnik I shocked Americans. With each radio beep Sputnik seemed to say: "Our system of extreme command and control works even better than yours."

But hold the phone. The year 1957, which gave us Sputnik I, also gave us the birth of Fairchild Semiconductor in Palo Alto, Calif. The reason that's notable: Fairchild, in 1959, invented the silicon chip. The company's founder, Bob Noyce, took the idea of a transistor and etched it onto a tiny piece of polished sand. Two years later he upped the ante. This time Noyce was able to etch two transistor equivalents onto a sliver of sand. Then 4, then 8, then 16, then 32--and the rest is history.

By 1969 the chip was performing wonderful feats of calculation. One of them was determining the exact moment at which an astronaut must fire a rocket booster to enter the moon's gravity field. Too late or too early would do the astronaut no good; the sun's competing gravity would suck him into a slow, hot death.

Thanks to the chip, America overcame a five-year Soviet lead in rockets and beat it to the moon. Thanks to the chip--in missiles, in faxes, in computers--we won the Cold War, too.

The chip didn't just defeat the Soviets. Its amazing powers, in the hands of entrepreneurs, began to foil command-and-control monoliths of any kind. In 1976, 21-year-old Steve Jobs, having no shoes and only a rickety VW bus to his name, sold his bus for $1,200. It was just enough to buy a few chips from Motorola. That's how Apple Computer got its start. The same year, down in Albuquerque, N.M., young Bill Gates and Paul Allen wrote software code for kit computers using the latest Intel chip. That's how Microsoft was born.

Poor, humble and decentralized to multiple vanishing points of obscurity, the chip-based PCs nevertheless would grow to be mighty in the next 25 years. By the fifteenth year chip PCs had begun their attack on the top-down computer establishment. As late as 1987 the old guard--IBM and the minicomputer stalwarts such as Wang and Digital--was still laughing at chip PCs. They weren't laughing in 1992. IBM was out of money. Digital was about to be swallowed. Wang was on its way to bankruptcy.

Venture Capitalist of Terror

What worries me most about Osama bin Laden and his network of terror is that he is following the Silicon Valley model of decentralization and disruption, almost to the letter. Think of Bin Laden as a venture capitalist--the VC of mass murder and global terror. Like any other successful VC, he attracts people willing to commit their lives. He doles out money, but only in dribs. He demands that his ventures, if you'll permit me to call them such, stay lean, squeeze pennies and meet milestones. Above all, they must change the rules of engagement. Through clenched teeth one is forced to admit that Bin Laden gets bang for his buck. It's what Fairchild did. It's what Apple did. It's what Microsoft did.

When we knocked out the Soviet Union, we did so by harnessing entrepreneurship and decentralization. Sure, we had a Pentagon, and more important a President and Secretary of Defense in the 1980s with iron wills. But the chip figures hugely here. It gave our military a decisive advantage over theirs. Yet it was invented by young men in a little shed 3,000 miles way. Nobody from the top planned it.

Now we have an enemy who attacks us from below using disruptive and decentralized techniques. This puts America in an odd position. I don't like the looks of this. Seeing as how crazy and scattered entrepreneurs have beaten the crap out of monoliths over the last 44 years in almost every field, I don't like the situation. Not one bit. I have no doubt America will prevail in the end, if only because more people in the world want our lifestyle than want theirs. We have the world on our side. But the actual terms of engagement work against us. For some time, it's going to be ugly.

"Art of War" Sun Tzu (400-320 B.C., China "He must be able to mystify his officers and men by false reports and appearances, and then keep them in total ignorance."

Everybody--cut the crap and THINK. Plan a was to bomb the WTC, Pentagon, White House, Sears Trade Tower, Transamerica Bldg and something (good knows--let's say a movie studio) in L.A. He figured he'd knock out the economy, chain of command. reducing out opportunity to respond in a sensible way. Then, to scare off our manly Euro allies, he planned to bomb our embassy in France, hit something (what?) in London and Hamburg. As we scramble to respond, a shaken, inexperienced second team rushes into Afghanistan while his buddy Saddam unboxes himself and goes into Kuwait, Saudi, Arabia and Yemen grabbing control of the world's oil and his loony tunes buddies in Asia cut off the Malacca straits (rendering Japan unable to act while in Chechnya and Bosnia his gang pins down Russia. That was his plan. I think. Right now he's a sorry assed bastard with kidney disease whose people are getting picked off around the globe, whose allies are minimal. We have to be prudent, but let's not be ridiculous. He and his guys are ready to be toasted. prudently.

The Moluccas are about 2000 miles east of Malacca. Curiously, Osama has his strongest base in the Moluccas, though, with a group of creeps called Laskar Jihad. They actually have a Web site

The goal of al-Qa'ida now is to play matador to the American bull, skillfully baffling the United States with a red cape of confusion and misinformation until the bull, exhausted, is ripe for another strike.

Is the Attack on America an Attack from Within?

Materials for an Inquiry 

By a Freedom-Loving American

 September 21, 2001

(Anonymity is necessary owing to the author’s sensitive position  at a major government agency.) 

 1.0           INTRODUCTION

 There are inescapable parallels between past events in American history and the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon by persons identified as Arab terrorists. Is the attack more than meets the eye? Following are some materials, with a Scenario, that may be useful in answering that question.


The methodology utilized herein is indebted to the approach suggested in an article relating to the terrorist event, written by former Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Catherine Austin Fitts. Entitled “Cui Bono? Building a Map to Solve the Crime,” that article is available on the web at: 

1.1     OH, FOR A WAR 

In response to the attack, the Bush administration is whipping up public sentiment for a war.  The media are cheerleading for a war. The Secretary of State cites a  “New Battlefield.” There are numberous ominous, but never explicit, references to sweeping social change:  “America has been forever changed.”

 All this disturbingly recalls moments in America’s 20th century history when war was utilized as a deliberate instrument of policy. It has generally been America’s practice to utilize war deliberately to advance internal as well as external government objectives, while appearing to have been dragged unwillingly into conflict. 

Nor is this new. President Theodore Roosevelt is quoted as writing in secret to a high-level ally in government of his ardent desire for a war. [The reference will be located and cited in a future revision.] Many national leaders since that time, to include American presidents and their top advisers, have yearned for war as a means of consolidating their control over the electorate– submerging dissent, distracting the public from inconvenient political facts, and guaranteeing themselves and their political adherents hegemony for the future. Though most of these have been Republicans and conspicuously right-wing, some Democrats have done the same. Notably, President Franklin D. Roosevelt is persistently accused of having had prior knowledge of the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, and using it to push an isolationist America over the brink of war. 

In more recent years, the administrations of Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush in particular have all been marked by a rush to warfare, whether overt or covert, as a consistent policy. Now once again, over the past two or three years, loosely phrased sentiments such as “What this country needs is a war” have been bandied about the airwaves, with more or less specious reasons given.

 Tactics are remarkably similar over time.  For example:

 i)     Enemy leaders are demonized, but never killed, instead being spared (like Saddam Hussein) to provide a continuing target for demonization. Thus the spurious war can continue, and continues to fuel the U.S. economy that makes these presidents’ allies rich. 

ii)     During these wars (and during less publicized actions that, though undeclared, serve the purposes of war), callous disregard of life–killing anything from thousands to hundreds of thousands–is passed off as heroic and patriotic, even though these murderous campaigns resemble what we have been taught to call genocide when practiced by other nations. 

A wartime footing is not just the most congenial for our government and business communities, it is utterly necessary. The bald fact is the United States military-industrial complex in the year 2001 has no valid reason to exist on anything like its present scale. 

But was the military-industrial complex to be cut back to levels of real need, the nation’s economic standing would tumble. The only sensible course would be to reduce military production annually, until it reaches sustainable levels. But the profit-mad U.S. industrial world will never accept this. So the only choice left is war.

 We hence are driven to ask, against all accepted wisdom:  is U.S. industry itself the enemy? Is our business world what is thwarting our earnest desire for “peace with honor?”


A former CIA official was heard saying on the radio, “If they didn’t have an Osama bin Ladin out there, they’d invent one.” Is that precisely what has been done? 

Other commentators have been quick to caution that bin Ladin may be part of something larger: state terrorism. Iraqi intelligence is mentioned as a possibility. But the only really effective state terror organization able to launch effective international action on a large scale, or “global reach,” as Pres. Bush has it, has been the United States. Moreover, the U.S. has a history of using the terrorist networks (reportedly to include a large number of Iraqi officers settled in the U.S.) to advance its own agenda, issuing propaganda to support this when necessary. 

In truth U.S. policy has depended on a distorted picture of terrorism to gain its objectives.  I.e., in the first year of the Reagan presidency a celebrated book, Claire Sterling’s The Secret War of International Terrorism:  The Terror Network, was published as if an independent work by a respectable author. Only later was it learned that the book was written as a propaganda exercise: disinformation pretending to be fact, utilized to advance government objectives that would not bear the light of day.  

We in the U.S. are not accustomed to see things that way. But simply reversing the perspective is useful to advance understanding. Our troop presence in foreign countries?  Imagine foreign troop presence in our country. Diplomatic threats?  Imagine another country issuing us threats like that, and following up with overflights, deployment of the fleet, etc. Riding roughshod, industrially and militarily, over the Third World? Imagine the Third World trying that with us. Yet we do all these things and more, and believe they are honorable. 

Over and over again, U.S. presidents have utilized foreign nationals as “freedom fighters” viewed as “the equivalent of our Founding Fathers” (the term coined by Ronald Reagan to describe the murderous bands who savaged socialist democracy in Nicaragua) to further their ends in destabilizing foreign regimes, notably where nascent democracy might endanger U.S. business hegemony in a region. Guatemala, Iran, Nicaragua, the oil-producing regions of the Middle East such as Iraq and Kuwait, Russia...dozens of examples might be cited. Simply replace the term “foreign regimes” with “domestic,” and the picture clarifies. 

The CIA’s resume includes arming, training and continuing to murderous dictators from General Augusto Pinochet in Chile, to Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, to Moammar Ghaddafi in Libya, to General Manuel Noriega in Panama. to Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Names less well known have meanwhile been utilized as terror teams and assassination experts.   

Whether or not American right wing involvement (and specifically the long-rumored but unprovable involvement of CIA operative George H. W. Bush) in part via Cuban exiles with the assassination of John F. Kennedy can be proven, there is no doubt that Bush Sr. as CIA director in the 1970s was intimately involved with running a long list of agents recruited from foreign countries to achieve specific U.S. government goals, many of them illegal. The illegal crossed over into the treasonable in such activities as the October Surprise release of Iranian hostages (brokered by Bush loyalists in 1980 while Bush and Reagan were not yet in office, not even legitimate representatives of the U.S.), and in the unconstitutional Iran-Contra subversion of American political processes during the 1980s. 

Utilizing “inscrutable” Arabs to baffle America began, maybe, with Sirhan Sirhan. It continues unabated to the present. Nationals from the Muslim world were involved in the October Surprise negotiations. Ever since then the Republican right wing’s covert connection with Arab agents has grown and developed.   

The Arab Connection was continued through active engagement by the CIA, directed by George H.W. Bush and his successors, during the Afghanistan war.  That proxy war involved the Soviet Union as a belligerent, and America as a funder and trainer of covert agents among the Afghan rebels. Among our CIA kingpins in Afghanistan were Osama bin Ladin and many if not most of the personnel who now make up his vaunted terror empire. It may be asked whether that empire, which has been likened to a corporation with bin Ladin as CEO, is like those of Noriega, and maybe Ghaddafi and Saddam Hussein as well, a shadow presence serving U.S. government purposes. 

Here we venture on what may appear to be shakier ground. However, let us examine why it may be more solid than it seems. 


The dangers implicit in the U.S. and international military-industrial complex were famously warned of by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as he left office. What he did not quite say is that a mighty commercial engine in which thousands of major corporations are vitally dependent for their survival on arms production, and thus on periodic declarations of war, becomes a self-perpetuating trap into which the nation must fall time and time again.   

In short, our industrial capacity, for its continued existence, requires war. We have found no other means of keeping recession at bay. American business expects its presidents to find it war markets by whatever pretext. Without war, our cherished U.S. economy begins to fail.

 The international arms trade, in which the U.S. and its allies are the dominant force, is one huge war market. Though it destabilizes world peace, sparking wars large and small around the globe, it is too useful to U.S. industry to abandon, because it consumes an enormous quantity of U.S.- and allied-produced armaments from rifles and grenades to H-bombs and generates the market for more. But the arms trade by itself it is not enough. More is needed. 

War is needed. Without war, the U.S. standard of living, and particularly the financial prospects of the richest 5% who are largely the owners and operators of industrial capacity, drop undesirably. 

1.4           REVIVING WAR FEVER 

Often in the past, in times when war was deemed desirable, “opinion leaders” in the news and entertainment industry have been sought out by high-level political power brokers to foster a desired message. They were tasked to spearhead a change in public opinion in favor of war. 

The year 2001 is the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. In its honor, or maybe for less honorable purposes, a spate of what may well be called propaganda has poured forth to celebrate and re-glorify World War II. The trend may be said to have kicked into high gear in 1998 with Tom Hanks’ movie Saving Private Ryan. In the three years since, Hanks has become a potent, highly visible celebrity flag-waver and World War glorifier, notably in fall 2001 with the opening guns of the HBO series Brothers in Arms. Meanwhile older movies celebrating such World War II events as D-Day have been re-running at a high rate. 

Just as crucial has been TV anchorman Tom Brokaw’s lauded book on the valiant fighting men of World War II, The Greatest Generation (and its slew of merchandising follow-ups, to include An Album of Memories: Personal Histories of the Greatest Generation). Brokaw has become virtually a one-man industry on the subject. The relevance of all this in the year 2001 seemed oddly uncertain–until the events of September 11. 


Among the American right-wing elite are some (significantly, George H.W. Bush is said to be among them) who are obsessed with the occult significance of numbers. (On this odd topic a number of articles at: are authoritative.) Maybe for them numerology is a form of private joke, or maybe it is thought to send a message. 

i)    In 2001, Arthur C. Clarke’s great novel and film, the human race finds its kinship with the universe. However, nothing, could be further from the minds of those who would keep men’s minds in the mud. It may be one of those savage kiss-offs so beloved of the right wing that the year when men might have focused their eyes on the stars will forever be remembered instead for the blur of terrorist death and misery. 

ii)   Like some newscasters have noted, the date September 11, 2001 equates to 911, the national emergency call number. 

While to most of us such correspondences are absurd, they are evidently taken seriously by some very powerful men. 

2.0           SCENARIO 

What may this all add up to?  Without committing ourselves pro or con, the following scenario may be adequate to address the known facts: 

1)    An unpopular president loses a popular election but wins in the electoral college after manipulation by various means to include using the reliably partisan U.S. Supreme Court’s right-wing majority. 

2)    The president’s legitimacy is questioned.  His unpopularity deepens as he appoints right-wing functionaries and pursues a deeply right-wing agenda against the polled wishes of some 70% of the electorate. 

3)    As usually happens during Republican administrations, supply side economics are forced, then fail. Despite the economic boom of the Clinton years, an economic downturn is forecast as early as six months before the election, as the G.O.P. candidate becomes, however weakly, the front-runner. 

4)    The economic slump arrives on schedule, causing forebodings about depression. The situation is exacerbated by a long-promised tax cut, most of whose largesse goes to the rich, notably GOP allies of the president. 

5)           Meanwhile domestic and foreign problems, exacerbated by the hard-line Republican approach, worsen as the Bush administration seems likely to raid Social Security funds, tries to blur the constitutional separation of church and state, ignores the mounting Arab-Israeli conflict, insults the U.N. racism conference in Durban, etc. etc. 

6)    To distract from these negatives and advance certain long cherished right-wing objectives, a small group of high-level officials is let in on a secret war plan, excluding the many who cannot be counted on to concur. 

7)    But what war? The Soviet Union, a credible opponent for a half century, is gone. China is mostly conciliatory. America is the sole world power. The warfare that has so reliably fueled past gross national products is almost impossible to provoke without the United States being visible as the obvious aggressor. 

8)    It seems to be a principle that a nation’s population will not support a war unless the cause is graphically brought home by a “cowardly sneak attack.” An incident is needed.  

8a)  The select group of high-level officials knows its history. It usefully recalls the Reichstag fire that fueled Hitler’s election victory and subjugation of the German people in February 1933. That fire, like so many catastrophic events in German (and U.S.) history, was ascribed to a “lone nut.” The perpetrator was one Van der Lubbe, whose guilty ties to future Third Reich Air Marshal Hermann Goering (like those of would-be Reagan assassin John Hinckley to then Vice President George H.W. Bush) were evident though never followed up by investigators. The Reichstag fire cleared the way for the Nazi takeover. 

8b)  (For further parallels between the two Bush administrations and events in Germany 68 years ago, Webster and Chaitkin’s Unauthorized Biography of George Bush, at, while focusing on the President’s father, implies much about the present course of events.) 

9)    Other convenient provocations are recalled, such as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor–about which Franklin D. Roosevelt is persistently said to have had foreknowledge–and the fabricated Gulf of Tonkin incident that created war fever and precipitated the U.S. into the widened Vietnam War. 

10)  But what sort of attack, in the year 2001, could possibly galvanise Americans, who are so stubbornly peaceful, into war fever? Ever since the Berlin Wall fell, the Soviet Union disbanded and all credible enemies disappeared, little but drug interdiction has turned up as a war pretext, except the sputtering recurrence of terrorism. But Cubans, Latin Americans, Asians, Africans–all are pretty much out of the terrorism business. However, Islamic terrorists are still a credible threat. And not by coincidence, right-wing elements within the U.S. government, since the ascent of George H.W. Bush to the directorship of the CIA, then to the vice presidency (during which many regarded him as the de facto president), and then to the presidency, have built far-ranging, repeatedly useful relationships with those Islamic terrorists. 

11)  Among the Islamic terrorists, only one name has been familiarized to the U.S. public:  Osama bin Ladin, built into a vivid terrorist presence since the 1993 World Trade Center bombing–a trial run that neither brought down the building as intended, nor impressed the U.S. population. Maybe that bombing too was more than met the eye. In the first year of the Clinton administration, was it designed to damage Clinton and drive Democrats from the White House for good? (Monica Lewinsky would later do a better job of that.) 

12)  Osama bin Ladin, CIA-trained, -funded and -supported, makes the first credible U.S. Public Enemy since Saddam Hussein. Like Hussein, he is not to be killed, but for the past eight years has been kept very much alive, held on retainer indefinitely, so to say, to serve as an ongoing pretext for military preparedness. And military preparedness, remember, translates to industrial military arms production: fuel for the U.S. economic engine. 

13)  The Islamic terrorist cells, particularly in the U.S.–one cell being in the home state of the president’s brother, a notorious hotbed of criminal and treasonous activity on demand, allegedly with the collusion of that state’s government–are notified covertly.  

13a)(Note the parallel with utilization of covert agents in Texas during the Kennedy assassination that made a Texan president. Note also that two Bush-related states, Maine and Florida, which have notoriously porous borders with high rates of criminal activity, to include drug smuggling and other illegal entry, were utilized as staging areas for the World Trade Center attack.)   

14)  A contingency plan is activated. It involves an Arab terrorist provocation against U.S. domestic targets of great symbolic importance. Execution of the attack has been held until the proper moment. Now, when the political and economic indicators are particularly negative, the time is right. 

15)  The means are chosen:  utilization of aircraft as a terrorist weapon. This technique (though the media will make much of it “never having been thought of before) is in fact not unfamiliar to the Republican right wing. According to persistent allegations, aircraft have in the past been crashed to do away with inconvenient passengers, such as persons with privileged information about the Kennedy assassination or the Iran-Contra crimes, political opponents, or CIA teams whose knowledge puts a price on their lives. In some cases–to include attempted downings of planes bearing Ted Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Albert Gore–such tactics fail. In other cases, such as the death of John F. Kennedy Jr. in summer 1999at a time when he was within a week of announcing a possible candidacy that could have doomed George W. Bush’s presidential chances, one can only speculate about persistent witness reports of an explosion before the plane went down. The small plane that crashed into the Clinton White House in 1994 may well have been part of this pattern. The leap from such actions to using commercial airliners as cruise missiles is not a very long one. 

16)  It can be imagined the necessarily small group of planners must have had to suppress qualms. They–maybe including the President’s former CIA director father; the elderly Vice President, an extreme right-winger who has for years been in the thick of covert plots; and two or three other top officials whose discretion can be counted on–supported by a few key individuals within the CIA’s reactionary wing who serve as conduits and cutouts in the operation–may not be utterly without conscience. But iron in the soul is required, if the operation’s main goals are to be satisfactorily met: 

i)     The U.S. population must be placed in a state of fear and anger suitable to fermenting war fever, even though a moment’s thought would confirm that there is no such thing as “declaring war” on so widely scattered and numerically small a target as terrorists. 

ii)    The U.S. must be put on a war footing. Industry must be ramped up to production of hitherto controversial new weaponry, while the population is brought into line, either using draconian measures and civil liberties are curtailed, or, easier, simply asking the population as a whole to stay out of it and acquiesce, while a few volunteer troops conduct the mop-up,. 

iii)   The lingering cultural slackness and tendency toward dissent, legacy of the despised 1960s, must be abruptly shown to be disloyalty–a long-term goal of the right wing. At the same time popular interest must be diverted from the tax cut’s “money grab” for the rich, the consequent economic pinch for everyone else, worsening economic indicators, negative results of other bad or favoritist right-wing decisions, and a continuing weakness in the president’s image. 

iv)    The military-industrial complex must be given a new lease on life. Other sectors of the economy can also be counted on to boom as new auxiliary markets are found for a wide range of goods and services. In especial, benefits will accrue to Bush-Cheney client millionaires in familiar sectors: Texas oil, the U.S. and foreign drug trade brokered by the CIA, other U.S. and international right-wing corporate interests, and the covert fraternity of intelligence community officials and alumni connected with highly secret, but apparently disproportionately important, extragovernmental federations such as Opus Dei (with membership among the current hierarchy in Washington), the Italian P2 Masonic Lodge, of which George H.W. Bush was a member until it was (if it ever really was) disbanded, etc. etc. 

v)     The strike at the Pentagon, symbol of America’s military supremacy, is a perfect force multiplier of the desired war fever. The strike at the World Trade Center, on the other hand, is more subtle. It strikes at the nation’s wallet, but even more than that, it cripples East Coast finance, long hated by the Republican right wing whose economic breadbaskets are in the south, southwest and west. The possibility of a surging Southwestern financial hegemony forever breaking the “bankers of the east” may be a significant goal. At any rate the Southwestern financial establishment has little at risk in such an attack, and everything to gain. 

vi)    In particular the petrochemical industries–the driving factor in the coup attempt against the Roosevelt White House in 1933–are once more a key player. Oil has repeatedly sought, and sometimes succeeded in gaining, supreme power. In the general relief at Richard M. Nixon’s departure, Nelson Rockefeller got little scrutiny when he was appointed Gerald Ford’s Vice President in a time of crisis.  It was the Texas oil fortunes who were John F. Kennedy’s primary active enemy when he was assassinated. The Bush presidencies have put Texas oil in the saddle.  

vii)Oil supplies face exhaustion within decades unless expensive and politically unpopular extraction methods are utilized.  If it is not to lose the battle to retain oil’s domination of the national industrial picture (in defiance of the demonstrated need to move to sustainable resource utilization), the oil industry needs to control a wider sector of the economy and change the national culture to match. The latest round in that battle is, for the present, won. Oil has gained, with the 2001 election, virtually undisputed possession and domination of the U.S. power structure. 

3.0     ZERO HOUR 

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the time is judged right. The contingency plan is triggered.  Aircraft are launched against the World Trade Center’s twin towers, the Pentagon, and one other target. Whatever may have been the real destination of the downed aircraft near Pittsburgh, it is quickly suggested that the plane was to crash Camp David, the White House or Air Force One, thus making the president appear even more the target, the victim, and presumably increasing public sympathy for him and rallying support around his government.   

(In an eerie parallel, George H.W. Bush during and after his presidency expressed fear of Saddam Hussein and even Manuel Noriega attempting to “get” him, though there was never credible evidence for that.  Utilization of the odd term “cowardly” to describe the attack–however despicable it was, it was anything but cowardly–may be an instance of a president’s projecting his own frame of mind on others.) 

Far from being “an intelligence failure,” as universally promulgated by the media, the operation is an intelligence success: utilizes highly trusted (or easily murdered) CIA assets and other Bush loyalists in the U.S. and foreign intelligence communities. It is designed to create false intelligence that spuriously implicates foreign “masterminds” before any competing suspicion can grow. 

The President’s evident vagueness and confusion in sporadic pulbic appearances may indicate his relative inability as an actor (no doubt a Ronald Reagan would have given a much more polished performance). Or it may be evidence that the President was not in sole or undisputed control of the operation.   

There is a third possibility. The trivial actions and words of the visibly shaken President, and the disappearance of the Vice President presumably within bunker-style command centers either at Camp David or beneath the White House, gives credence to the thought that the President himself may not have been among the planners’ core group, and may even have been regarded by them as expendable. In that case the Vice President would be the de facto president, the President merely a more or less convenient figurehead. 

Government spokesmen are quick to suggest that Osama bin Ladin and other Arab terrorists may have utilized foreknowledge of the strike to make a killing on Wall Street. This begs a further question:  whether the President’s, Vice President’s, or other top officials’ families, financial allies, or financial empires did something similar. (Again, it is a curious recurrent feature of U.S. right-wing administrations that they tend to “project” their own characteristics onto their opponents, so that by listening to their accusations against others, one can often get an idea of what they themselves are up to.) 


“My country right or wrong” is again the watchword.  Patriotism, Christian fundamentalism (an early presidential statement on the airwaves, subsequently decried as a mistake) equates the U.S. righteous revenge with the medieval Crusades against the Holy Land), war fever, a country standing tall, waving flags, united in sentiment however spurious... It all has many advantages for a wealthy elite that in the past twenty years has decisively reversed “leveling” trends that had tried to distribute wealth more widely and benefit U.S. poor and middle classes.   

Having re-concentrated wealth at the top, that elite is now ready to flex some muscle, as suggested for years by pundits as diverse as William F. Buckley and Rush Limbaugh. The country will (high time! they cry) be run to please the “people who really matter,” the wealthy right wing. Anyone who chooses to protest can conveniently be dismissed as unpatriotic, if not traitors to the cause. 

Longer-range objectives are more difficult to glimpse. Will the U.S. establish sway over the increasingly out-of-control Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Gain hegemony over increased reserves of Middle East oil? Create a new and bolder U.S. regime over the world that bypasses the right-wing bete noir, the United Nations? With the U.S. population pacified and controlled, what new domestic initiatives become possible? Restrictions on freedom? Political re-indoctrination? Population manipulations? Even wider imprisonment of the “people who don’t really matter?” 

4.0           SPECULATION? OR TRUTH? 

Has it happened? Is it still happening?   

Despite official and media protestations to the contrary, nothing that happened on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 is unheard-of. It is consistent with methods utilized, notably by U.S. intelligence agencies at the command of U.S. presidents and the people around them, for the past 35 years. It has even been foreshadowed in blockbuster novels by authors (more aligned with right-wing interests, maybe than has been perceived–even the climactic scene of an aircraft flying into a building!!!). The script has been there, waiting for someone to utilize it. 

Was that someone a U.S. citizen?  Was he a U.S. official?  Was he, were they, our top leaders? To quote former HUD Assistant Secretary Fitts in the above-cited article “Cui Bono,”  

“Any time you are tempted to say, ‘But so-and-so would never do that,’

or ‘But so-and-so would never exploit something like this in such a way,’ I would encourage you to reconsider and reach out for the hard data. A review of the statistics on who makes how much money in arms trafficking, narcotics trafficking, warfare and other forms of organized crime indicate that governments, banks, and legal and illegal corporations and their investors worldwide consider these to be excellent businesses. 

“History has shown that powerful but historically invisible wealth has a pattern of financing and ultimately manipulating all sides in a conflict.” 

More than half a century ago, Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here outlined the many ways in which demagogues, “kinder and gentler” Hitlers, can prevail in the United States. His novel was based on a real-life event: the DuPont-led 1933 cabal that attempted a coup against the Roosevelt White House and its “socialist” New Deal, a piece of history almost nobody knows, because standard histories ignore it.  

That cabal was foiled only because one honest general, Gen. Smedley Butler of the U.S. Marine Corps, sought as a spokesman, blew the whistle. The perpetrators were the subject of a brief Congressional investigation but, because they were some of America’s richest and most powerful magnates, they were neither charged nor punished. They and a number of right-wing corporations, to include several associated with President George W. Bush’s grandfather, Prescott Bush, went on to fund both the United States and Nazi Germany in World War II.  None of this is fiction.  This happened.  Look it up! 

Now, half a century later, under the grip of the media, the sensitive modern propaganda apparatus for manipulating the public, the U.S. has gone light-years beyond anything Sinclair Lewis, or the fabulously wealthy 1933 conspirators, could have imagined. Today the apparatus is in place to institute a 21st century “friendly fascism,” as George Seldes, one student of right-wing deeds, called it, on an unparalleled scale. 


The extremely peculiar speech to Congress and the nation of George W. Bush on September 20, 2001 does not encourage us in this respect. Stripped of its masterly rhetoric, its message seems to be: 

°     Unite behind me; what other choice have you got? 

°     Never mind that I offer you no credible evidence of master planning by any “Arab terrorist.” 

°     Give me carte blanche for an unwinnable war that will likely still be going on through the end of my second term. 

°     Give my cronies in the military-industrial complex a blank check, no questions asked. 

°     (Implied but not stated)  Ignore my administration’s:

-      Economic crisis in the gold, derivatives and stock markets.

-      Failure to deal with $3 trillion in missing government funds.

-      Rapidly increasing disparity between rich and poor.

-     Raid on Social Security, partly caused by welfare for the rich.

-     Highly controversial changes in defense policy and budget.

-      Refusal to sign the Kyoto Global Warming protocol.

-      Failure to come through on health care and patients’ rights.

-      Sharply increased press muzzling and government secrecy.

-      Assaults on the Constitution and civil liberties.

-      Threats to the separation of church and state.

-      Foreign policy failures, to include exacerbation of the Mideast Crisis.

-     Cruel insult to the racism conference in Durban.

-      Deepening hegemony by the right wing, contrary to 70% voter wishes.

-     Ties to terrorism via the CIA support of bin Laden and other terrorists. 

°     Don’t interfere. 

°     Go shopping. 

As noted above, the president offered no proof that the plan was master-minded by any “Arab terroist,” though evidence was crudely placed to suggest that it was. We are asked to take the provocation for the “War” on faith.  (Now, there is a faith-based initiative.) But what if instead the terrorists are closer–much closer–tohome?

 That conclusion, unfortunately, would not be inconsistent with the general trends outlined in the scenario above. In a stroke, the right wing and the Bush-Cheney axis seem to have gotten everything they’ve ever dreamed of.  It’s rather too pat, don’t you think? 

5.1     THINK FIRST 

The scenario outlined above would be a horrible deed, the greatest treason in U.S. history. But it is not unthinkable. You who are reading this must decide how improbable you think it is. But the possible consequences if you cannot grapple with the possibility are so dire, that to refuse to consider it is too great a risk. 

So, therefore, let us hope all this is not so. But in case it is, let us prepare. 

Our future freedom and honor are at stake right now. If we let ourselves be manipulated from within the house of mirrors, it will be our own fault. We must see events not for what they appear to be, but for what they really are. 

History tells us that U.S. freedom and democracy have less often been threatened from without than from within. Too often the most heinous threat appears external, only to turn out to have been manipulated or created from within.  

Is there a chance that the U.S. right wing, involving many of our wealthiest citizens, with a shaky or nonexistent commitment to democracy but a deeply felt commitment to oligarchy, has taken its most dangerous shake of the dice: an all-or-nothing grab for ultimate power to subdue its democratic opponents? That would a staggering risk. Loss could set the right wing back 50 years.   

But the gamble would have a good chance of being won, particularly now when military and police control over the population is at a historic high. Victory could bring the plotters unparalleled wealth, virtually unlimited resources, and long-sought world domination. That they would incidentally end democracy in the United States is maybe, in their view, not too great a price–indeed even a desired objective. 

In case that is so, what must we do?   

Begin by thinking straight.  Better than rabid patriotism, better than empty rhetoric about God, country or flag, is the difficult act of thinking clearly and sensibly. We are the best patriots, the best Americans, when we calmly seek out the facts however unpalatable, reason our way toward the course of action that is truly best for all of us (not just the powers that be), and then act accordingly. 

The time may have come when we must buckle down and do just that.